Betrayal at House on the Hill is an amazing board game published by Avalon Hill in 2004. It has masses or replayability and has 50 different haunts included. These haunts add a variation to every game that will make each one a nail biting game to remember. Making it highly unlikely that you will have the same game twice.
As you explore a haunted mansion you can feel the suspense build as the game progresses. This great game unfortunately is for 3-6 players. Luckily I am going to explain how to play Betrayal at House on the Hill with 2 players.
For those that want the quick answer, here it is. To play Betrayal on House on the Hill with 2 players is simple as each player can take two characters. As the game proceeds they take a turn for each of their characters. Once the haunt happens and the traitor is revealed. The player with the traitor hands over their other character. You now have good and evil opposing sides: three heroes and the betrayer. May the best ghoul win. Mwah!
Of course there are a few other finer details that I will discuss here, so let’s begin.
As you are playing four characters between the two of you the setup is the same as a normal game. Let’s take a quick look at the setup. Feel free to skip forward if you are familiar with setup.
- Put the Traitors Tome and Secrets of Survival booklets aside. You’ll be needing those later.
- Choose two characters each and put the 4 plastic markers on each character.
- Shuffle the Omen, Event and Item cards. Place them face down where you can both reach them. Leaving a space in the middle for you to explore the house.
- Take the room tiles and find the start of each floor. Namely the Basement, Entrance Hall, and the Upper Landing. Place them left to right with a good distance to allow the addition of other tiles.
- Shuffle the rest of the room tiles and place them face down next to the Omen, Event and Item cards.
- Place each of the chosen characters figures in the Entrance hall.
- Place the dice next to the room tiles.
You are ready to play and the player with the next birthday coming up goes first.
Now play the game as normal with each player taking two turns, one for each of their explorers. During this phase of the game you need to work together collaboratively. Build up each character’s items and discover rooms in the house as you play along.
At the haunt
When a player rolls the dice on a haunt roll and gets less than the number of omen cards the haunt begins. Use the Traitors Tome to identify the haunt and traitor.
This type of haunt would be pointless as it will be obvious who has the traitor. Rather than playing this scenario and spoiling the fun for when you have more players. You can use the optional rule to select a different haunt. This will be the next closest room with a crow symbol on it to the haunt revealers character.
Once the haunt and traitor is decided upon. The player with the betrayer now takes the other non-traitor explorer and passes it to the other player. All the items remain with the explorer.
Now you have two players on opposing sides. The three explorers who have become heroes and the traitor. Good vs Evil.
Play out the rest of the game as normal. The player with three heroes takes a turn for each hero. The player who is the traitor only gets a turn for the traitor.
Finishing the game
Finish the game in the same way. Either the traitor or the heroes complete their objectives to win the game.
Two player – three explorers alternative
Another variation that you might like to try is with three explorers. It works the same as above except each player chooses an explorer. Then choose a third explorer which is shared between the players during the coop phase.
As it is collaborative each player can take a turn for the third explorer alternately. Another option would be to work together on that turn to decide what moves and actions should be taken.
This variation will mean there are only two heroes that must defeat the traitor. Making this even more of a challenge.
Two player alternatives to Betrayal at House on the Hill
If you have Betrayal at House on the Hill and find yourself often wanting to play it with only two players. Then we can suggest some amazing games of the same genre that are fun for two players.
This is an amazing cooperative game where portals are opening up all over the world. Together you must work to defeat an elder god who is trying to break into your world. I have a brief overview written in my article, Best 8 player board games for 2021.
As you travel across the globe you meet new characters and defeat (hopefully!) various monsters in the hope of defeating the elder god. The elder god will awaken when the doom timer reaches 0. You have until then to solve three ancient mysteries. If the elder god awakens you will have one last chance at solving them but it will be much harder.
This is an incredible game that can not only be played with two players but solo too. So there is quite a bit of flexibility for this one. It is sure to keep you on the edge of your horrified seats. You can check the prices for Eldritch Horror here.
Pandemic is a survival cooperative game where you work together to cure viruses. These viruses have broken out all over the world and you must find a cure. All whilst attempting to prevent outbreaks.
Each player chooses a character which has a certain trait. With characters such as scientists, operations expert or quarantine specialists to choose from. For example the scientist needs one less card to make a cure. The dispatcher can move other players. They do this by teleporting players to locations where other players are.
The board is a world map and shows various major cities. Each city is interlinked with one or more other cities. You use cubes to show the infections in a city. If the infections reach 3 cubes then this triggers an outbreak. This means that each city linked to the outbreak gets an infection.
It is amazing how this can suddenly make everything spiral out of control. Sometimes an outbreak can trigger another outbreak.
This survival game will have you captivated and put you in a real struggle for survival.
To win you must cure all four viruses.
You can lose if:
- The outbreak marker reaches the last space on the outbreak track.
- If you run out of virus cubes and more need to be placed.
- A player cannot draw two cards after finishing their actions.
You have one way to win and three ways to lose. The odds are stacked against you but then that makes the winning oh so sweet! Pandemic is a wonderful game that works well with two players.
You can check out prices for Pandemic here.
There is also Pandemic Legacy Season 1 which is a unique one time playthrough game that actually evolves as you play. My article, Can you play pandemic legacy more than once?, explains how the mechanics of the legacy game works.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is an awesome game. When you find yourself wanting a game but only have the two of you. Then you will find it is fun to play with the variations discussed in this article.